Since she burst onto the international scene with her 2009 album, Believe, Orianthi has remained at the forefront of the new generation of exciting, highly accomplished guitarists.
And while over the years she’s played alongside everyone from Michael Jackson and Carrie Underwood to Alice Cooper and Richie Sambora, she has mostly built her devoted fan base through her own music, which combines rock, blues, pop, country and electronic with plenty of fiery, high-octane guitar playing on her PRS Custom 24s.
Now Orianthi is back with the highly-anticipated O, her first solo release in seven years. And it doesn’t disappoint – for just one example, check out the album’s first single, the hard rocking, shred-tastic Sinner’s Hymn.
Orianthi recently discussed the making of the new record, her relationship with PRS, what we can expect from her in the future and much more. For all the details, read on.
O is your first solo album in over seven years. How has your writing process changed since the recording of Heaven in This Hell back in 2013?
This record was written and recorded in 28 days. It’s definitely got elements of blues, rock and pop with some electronic vibes. Marti Frederiksen and I went in the studio and didn’t over-think anything, it has a raw-yet-polished, vibed sound. I hope people want to put this record on in their car and not turn it off.
Last month you performed tracks from O during a livestreamed concert at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood. Will you be hosting any more livestreams in support of the new album?
Absolutely hope to soon. It was fun to play with my band after a long time!
Growing up in Australia, can you remember the first time you encountered the PRS brand and the first one you ever played?
Yes, when I was 11 and I saw Carlos Santana perform Europa, that was a complete turning point for me! I begged my dad to buy me a PRS. He got me a Custom 24, and I still have it. It was made in 1988.
It was Carlos Santana who initially fostered your relationship with Paul Reed Smith and PRS Guitars. How exactly did that connection come about?
When I was 14, I made a demo at home and sent it to Santana management, they sent it to PRS and Paul Smith called me and invited me to the US. Then years later when I was 18 years old, Santana played in Adelaide again, and he sent a DVD of the show (with me jamming with him at Memorial Drive in front of 15k people!) to PRS, and he invited me to the NAMM show.
You have collected a number of one-of-a-kind PRS Custom 24s – most notably one covered in Swarovski crystals, the blood splattered Floyd and of course the metallic purple one with the Orianthi “O” inlay. Of all these guitars which one sees the most action?
I love the Swarovski MJ guitar! I played that one only a few times, mostly with Michael Jackson at rehearsals and in a Dave Stewart music video. The purple one with my logo on it is my main PRS right now – the pickups, the neck, everything about it is perfect.
As a longtime PRS endorsee, what have been your fondest memories and experiences with the company over the past 20 years?
I have so many fun memories – the first time I came to NAMM, Paul and everyone were so sweet and supportive!! We had dinner, hung out and had some laughs and good times! Going to Japan with the PRS team a few times was such a fun experience too, and so was creating signature models, of course!
You’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with many artists. Can you name a few and tell us a little bit about these experiences? How have these experiences influenced you as an artist?
Michael Jackson definitely made me a better performer and gave me a lot of confidence. Alice Cooper, too! Touring with Alice was so much fun and he is so professional. He gives 100 percent every night. Alice, his family, and the band will forever be family to me.
Working with Richie Sambora and writing the RSO record, he is an incredible songwriter, so I definitely upped my game a lot. He’s such a great lyricist also. Prince was amazing to work with for a very short time – we jammed, and he taught me quite a bit from the short time we spent together.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to see happen once COVID-19 finally loosens its grip on the live music industry?
I know during this time a lot of great records are being written. I can’t wait for the world to be better, so I can play my new album live with my band and travel the world again.